Why is Getting a Home Inspection so Important?
After weeks of searching the area for the home
of your dreams – you found it, put in an offer and the seller
Now that you’ve shown the seller that you intend to purchase the home, you should consider getting the home inspected.
While a home inspection is not required, it is strongly encouraged. Much like purchasing a used car, it is important to have a neutral, third-party survey the property you wish to purchase for any potentially burdensome issues that could easily be missed by the untrained eye.
A home inspection can uncover structural inadequacies that could lead to a mountain of bills and headaches in the future.
Your real estate agent will likely have a list of home inspectors for you to choose from, but don’t feel obligated to pick one from it. A good place to start is by searching for licensed inspectors in your area through the American Society of Home Inspectors’ website.
By getting the home inspected prior to the closing date, you could even negotiate that the seller remedies the issues discovered by the inspector as part of the sales agreement or receive concessions to help you offset the costs of hiring a contractor to complete the repairs after you assume ownership.
Make sure that you are present for the duration of the home inspection.
In many cases, the inspector will be happy to walk through the house and point out any problems he or she finds and whether they require immediate attention or might need to be repaired in the future.
Feel free to ask questions about things you might have noticed during your initial walkthrough with your real estate agent.
What does a home inspector check for?
-Electric Wiring and Plumbing
-Signs of Pest Infestation
-Lead Paint (if built before 1978)
-HVAC System Performance
-Interior/Exterior of home
-Roof and Attic
Here are some possible questions to ask the home inspector:
- Is there any structural damage? – You will want to know if the property you’re thinking about buying has any signs of rot, a leaky roof, shifting/leaky foundation or pest infestation. A thorough home inspection will tell you those things and more. Be sure to ask the inspector what the long-term implications are for any signs of disrepair, if left unfixed.
- Is the wiring and plumbing up to current building safety codes? – If you are looking at an older building, it is important to find out from a licensed inspector whether or not the electrical wiring and plumbing is up to today’s industry safety standards.
- Radon Gas – what is it? – Radon gas occurs naturally underground and is known to seep into basements. It has been linked to cancer with prolonged exposure. Radon gas testing is often considered a premium inspection service. If elevated radon levels are discovered, you will need contact with a radon mitigation specialist in your area to address the issue.
- Don’t be shy – go ahead and ask how things work – Are you a first-time homebuyer? All the more reason to walk around with the inspector and ask him to explain how things work. For example, if you have never had a gas boiler, ask how often it needs to be serviced. As you walk around the property, the inspector will inform you about the tests they are performing and why they’re important to the overall health of your prospective new home.
The inspection is over – what happens next?
Typically, the home inspector will contact you with a detailed report outlining all the defects and potential future repairs within 24 hours.
Now that you know all the things wrong with the house, you'll have to determine how serious they are. Are they problems you want the seller to correct before you will buy the home, ones you want concessions to offset the cost for repairs, or are they things that go on your to do list after you move in? Each homebuyer’s preference is different.
New or old, having a home inspection is a financially wise decision.
After all, buying a home is typically the biggest purchase an individual makes.